[Film: Pontypool, Bruce McDonald, 2008]
Pontyficating:

Pontypool and its Rapid, Disappointing Ruining of an Excellent Horror Story

Introduction:

Pontypool movie poster - movie review analysis - Dr. John MendezThe low-budget Canadian horror film Pontypool is well worth watching. Its several characters are well-drawn and fully fleshed out through minimal tactics, while the premise’s in-built limitations contain new and unique elements, even to my seasoned movie-watching cynicism. But still, despite its heavy success at an early establishment of an unnerving, creepy tone in a genuinely novel context, Pontypool‘s second half tanks its tone and changed my initial opinion of the film from ‘excellent’ to merely ‘good.’

So what is Pontypool about? What makes its premise so unique? And what goes wrong for it? It is about a freshly-employed-yet-seasoned disk jockey and his finnicky, neurotic new manager at a local radio station in a small town in Ontario which gets caught in the middle of a violent and mysterious apocalyptic-style nightmare (as well as a snowstorm). And how does the film go so wrong? By transitioning from this unique and wonderful set-up into a mess of tired tropes, tone-destroying filmmaking and acting decisions, and nonsensical as well as unnecessary pseudo-scientific explanations of—and later attempted cures for—the nightmare in question.

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[Film: Pontypool, Bruce McDonald, 2008]
Pontyficating:

Pontypool and its Rapid, Disappointing Ruining of an Excellent Horror Story

was last modified: January 6th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Film: Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson, 2008]
Bloody, Brilliant:

Let the Right One In is a Touching Tale Full of Cold, Macabre Murders

 

Let the Right One In hands scene - Låt den Rätte Komma In - Tomas Alfredson - Let Me InYou could probably tell from my spirited endorsement of The Marx Brothers’ movies a month ago that I’m hoping to point you all toward areas of the film landscape that you’re missing if you just stick to the past 40 years of Hollywood blockbusters (not that I’m opposed to those either, of course).

Today’s film is in another such area, because it is a Swedish film. If you’re a person who has never watched a movie that was made in a language besides English, then let me take this opportunity to tell you that you are missing out on huge quantities of truly incredible cinema. A case-in-point of what you’re missing out on (and a great place to start, if that unfortunately describes you) is the Swedish horror-drama Let the Right One InLet the Right One In - Låt den Rätte Komma In - Tomas Alfredson - Let Me In. And for a spoiler-free account of why you should make it a priority to check this film out, read on.

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[Film: Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson, 2008]
Bloody, Brilliant:

Let the Right One In is a Touching Tale Full of Cold, Macabre Murders

was last modified: January 18th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Film: The Blob, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958]
A Repurposed Drive-in Delight:

Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s The Blob, and How a Horror Movie Becomes a Comedy

 

The Blob movie poster Almost everyone is familiar with some instance of the so-bad-it’s-good phenomenon of watching movies that are enjoyable because of how terrible they are. There is fame and fortune for anyone who sincerely tries and laughably fails to make a good movie. But today I want to talk about a subtly different phenomenon: movies which were good in their time, but which have aged into a different genre (usually comedy) or else not aged well. One such film which has undergone this comedic fermentation process is The BlobThe Blob, a short 1950s drive-in science-fiction movie.

A film loved by audiences in its time (if not by critics), The Blob still offers viewers a very enjoyable experience, but for very different reasons. What was once a semi-horror, science-fiction creature feature has become a schlocky, humorous melodrama.

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[Film: The Blob, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958]
A Repurposed Drive-in Delight:

Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s The Blob, and How a Horror Movie Becomes a Comedy

was last modified: January 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Film: Red State, Kevin Smith, 2011]
A True View Askew:

On the Merits of Kevin Smith’s Red State

 

Michael Parks Sketch by M.R.P. - Red State

Sketch by M.R.P.

Kevin Smith’s personal anecdotes are more entertaining to me than any of his supposedly comedic films. I like his attitude, and I like his perspective, but I don’t like his writing. When his writing is not pandering to below the lowest common denominator or disproportionately praising George Lucas’ weakest films, it is still generally a set of superficial observations about malaise or adulthood dressed up as profound insights. But Red StateRed State is a curious case.

Red State, the story of a group of teenagers’ run-in with a fanatical and violent cult, is totally unique among Smith’s films. For one thing, unlike nearly every Kevin Smith movie, it’s quite good. It’s tense, interesting, and there are only two or three minor actors who don’t give excellent performances. Further, it is one of the few films in his filmography which do not take place in the meandering boredom of his so-called ‘View Askewniverse.’ Red State fails as both an action movie and a horror movie, but it succeeds as an interesting film.

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[Film: Red State, Kevin Smith, 2011]
A True View Askew:

On the Merits of Kevin Smith’s Red State

was last modified: January 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski